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/ Winter 2021/Issue 105

Best Business Books 2021: Read all about it

Our writers choose the best books of the year in seven genres.

In recent years, there’s been a tendency to view books—those hefty stacks of paper, imprinted with ink—as a means of escape from a world that is, in the words of Wordsworth, too much with us. Curl up with a good book beside a roaring fire and forget, for a moment, the storms swirling outside. But for the people who write books, and for the large (and still growing) industry that supports their production, distribution, and sale, it’s exactly the opposite. In all the forms they take—carefully constructed narratives, finely wrought arguments, lengthy essays and rants, case study–driven instruction manuals—books are in fact a tool and invitation for greater engagement in the world. They have evolved into products that can be easily transported, stored, and consumed—in print, yes, but also in tiny pixels on a phone or on a tablet, or in waves of sound. Books invite us to lean in more deeply to a subject or a story, to grapple and engage with the maelstrom of facts, events, and trends that are altering our world. In this, our 21st edition of Best Business Books, our stalwart crew of reviewers have distilled recommendations guaranteed not only to pique your interest and pass the time, but to make you a better leader, coworker, and trendsurfer.


Old man and the C-suite
by Daniel Akst

An unstoppable force
by Bethany McLean

Right out in the open
by David Lancefield


The pandemic rewrites geopolitics
by Ryan Avent

Taming collaborative dysfunction
Theodore Kinni

Tech & innovation
The right time to yell “fire!”
by Paul Barbagallo

Consumer behavior
Paying attention to humans
by James Surowiecki

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